Despite reaction to the product announcements at Apple’s latest keynote have been, at best, lukewarm there’s not doubt both the iPhones and Apple Watch will sell. So, what’s to worry about? If you’re an Apple executive or investor the answer is lots.
By far the biggest loser from the event was Apple and its reputation. Having hyped the keynote, according to media reports, far more than usual and with ABC positioning it as featuring a ‘historic’ announcement its failure to live up to top billing, the unveiling of solid, rather than revolutionary product point updates and a smartwatch that has seriously underwhelmed fans that have waited years for a wearable device, it has seriously damaged the company’s brand.
Here are three mistakes Apple made and what you can learn from them to avoid damaging your reputation and the reputation of your business:
Apple over promised and under-delivered. With new product launches and media announcements there’s always the temptation to hype, hype, hype. Traditionally understated, media reports suggest Apple got carried away in the weeks and days before the latest keynote and then failed to deliver on the raised expectations.
One of the central pieces of the Apple launch machine under Steve Jobs was that everything… OK, almost everything, was a surprise. Watch any of the keynotes from Steve’s time at the company and watch audiences go crazy when there was ‘One More Thing’. It’s always better to deliver something unexpected than fail to deliver what is expected.
Apple now appears to be taking its customers for granted. Two new, larger, iPhones that look similar to the handsets they’ve been selling for the last three years. Yes, they are thinner, they have a few new bells and whistles [nothing that the competition hasn’t already launched] but they’re is little sign of the innovation that got customers standing in line for days ahead of launch.
The Apple Watch is another example of this complacency. Having been rumoured for years the final [first generation] product was not what most had expected; it definitely wasn’t something that fits easily within the Apple product portfolio.
Apple now believes its own hype. It’s a dangerous position to be in and is the starting point for a fall from grace for Apple. Whether the company believes it or just wants you to think that it does it sends out the wrong messages – internally and externally. Tim Cook’s over enthusiasm for what added up to less than historic… less than exciting product features and functions like the fact the iPhone 6 is 50% faster than the original [think of Moore’s law and the advances in processing power since the first iPhone was announced and then compare it with a 50% speed bump and tell me whether you’re still impressed] or the glee with which he announced it had trimmed a millimetre or two off of the height of the handset… Apple fanboys are starting to see through the reality distortion field.
The only people that don’t see through it appear to work for Apple.